The Voyage to Spirit Island pt. 1.

These images are from a scenery dense 48 hour trip to Jasper that was initiated by my friend Elliot. I had the time off and always wanted to experience Spirit Island. Uncharacteristically, my typical aversion to wild ideas and adventure seemed to be thrown to the wolves at the thought of this incredible location for sunrise. Of course millions of people have been there before on the large tourist boats that ferry groups out all day but only a select few have put in an effort to experience the grandeur of viewing light slowly, seeping over the mountains.

After a few short days of planning, I drove to meet up with Elliot in Jasper the day before so we could pick up the rental canoe and ensure we were still up for a seemingly unwise voyage. For those of you who have no idea where Spirit Island is, it's on Maligne Lake, (enjoy trying to decide how to pronounce that :p) which is about a 40-minute drive from Jasper, Alberta. Something you may not know about me is that when I’m nervous about things I like to show up to them irrationally early. The most inconvenient example of this is when I played soccer in Edmonton and before every game I would get dreadful anxiety that would just escalate during the 2.5-hour drive. Due to this angst, I wanted to be at every game 30 minutes before we even had to get ready and warm up. Anyways, the trend seems to continue because we grabbed our gear for the rental canoe and drove to the lake a solid 4 hours early to ‘scout it out.’ We also hoped to catch the sunset at the lake but that was a flop so we didn't really have anything do from 9:00 pm to midnight when we planned to kick off from shore. At this point, I was still a little nervous about Elliot’s canoeing abilities because I wasn't the most confident in my own. I’ve canoed plenty of times on lakes around my home, however in complete darkness and on a lake where the nearest people are a 40-minute drive away, changes that comfort meter just a few notches.

We decided to attempt at sleeping in the vehicle until setting out. I should have known I would n’t be able to fall asleep so I restlessly pursued the art of fast-forwarding time by reading, walking around outside, and even pondering the plethora of potential, problematic paths we may pursue. Anticipation built and so did the nerves. Whenever there is an activity forcing me out of my comfort zone, especially involving life-threatening elements, I look for anything that might allow me to opt out. Contrary to the desires of my buzzkill subconscious, there seemed to be nothing emerging as an escape. Three hours monotonously progressed to the time for me to wake up Elliot so we could pack our bags and grab the canoe. It was a gorgeous night with an unobstructed view of the stars above.

Once packed, we walked down to the shore to unlock the canoe we rented. Earlier in the day, we had checked to make sure our canoe was in proper condition to keep us afloat throughout the night. Both of us were extremely thankful that we had a canoe that wasn't tipped over or filled with water and sand because half of them were in an unfortunate state. We inserted the key, applied the appropriate amount of force to turn the key to only be obnoxiously met with a key that wouldn’t rotate. After fidgeting with the lock for a minute, we looked at the number and realized we were at the wrong number canoe, which conflicted with what we were told to take at the rental store. Logically, we found the canoe with the corresponding number. It was at this point we had a sinking feeling. Indeed, our canoe was one of the submerged.

Come back next week to continue reading more of our canoe ride, our wild encounter and view the rest of the images from Spirit Island. Following these posts, I'll continue with some images from Athabasca Falls. I hope you enjoyed the read!